Monday, January 26, 2015

A Faith Journey To Oz

*This will be a long read, but it's a faith journey I want to share.

Last year, I ran a 3 month crowd-funding project for my novel, The Battle For Oz. Those 3 months... were quite a journey. One that required a lot of faith.

I first discovered Inkshares (a crowd-funded publishing platform) from an email sent to me by the co-founder, Larry. After contemplating whether I should give it a shot, I decided to try it out. I chose The Battle For Oz for the project because it was the only complete title that I had no plans for.

Quick story on The Battle For Oz:  
This book first started when an artist approached me to collaborate. He had an idea to marry two fictional worlds and wondered if I was interested in partnering with him on the project. Feeling flattered by the offer, I agreed. 
Being someone who has never read the literature involved, I did a lot of research before plotting and writing three novelettes for The Battle For Oz. Once I was done, the artist took the first novelette and illustrated it. But after the first novelette was released as an e-book, the artist decided he did not want to continue the project any longer.  
If you were me, you probably would have felt the unfairness of the situation. Honestly, I was really upset. I delivered my end of the bargain only to be bailed out on. Knowing I could not do anything, I let the artist go.
I will admit that we did struggle as a team. Our ideas clashed a lot and we were in arguments on and off. We did manage to marry some of our concepts together, so I won't say everything in The Battle For Oz was originally my idea. The plot however, was. Knowing that I put a lot of effort into this book, I wasn't going to let it go to waste. 
*That being said, the artist has been more than supportive of my decision to publish the novel on my own. 

So, when Inkshares approached me, I decided it would be a good move to take The Battle For Oz to another level. What felt like a great injustice when the collaboration did not work out, turned into a stepping stone for me to move forward as an author. Maybe, it happened for a reason.

Anyway, upon starting the crowd-funding project, I decided that it would be a project that I do with God. Despite the fact that the book was not inspired by Him, I still wanted Him to partner with me. So every night, I prayed and asked God for His help. And I believe He delivered.

Within the first 10 days of the project, I managed to raised 45% of the funds needed. I was so happy, thinking that it would complete in no time. But after the 10 days, I realised that all contacts have been exhausted. There was no one else to ask for support... and that was when a bible story came to mind; the story of Jesus asking Peter to cast his nets into the water, where he then pulled out tons of fishes. 

After a few nights of praying over that bible story, believing that God will tell me where to cast my nets for funds, I decided to read the story again. Upon finding it, I discovered something new.

In Luke 5 verse 2, it states that Peter and his gang had left their boats unattended as they washed their nets, in which I assume they were done for the day. They were ready to go home without a single catch, but after Jesus told them to give it another shot, they ended up with too many to carry.

The key point I got out of this was the fact that Peter was ready to throw in the towel when God decided to show Himself to him. 

So for the next 80 days of the crowd-funding project, where the fundraising graph had hit a plateau, I challenged my faith by believing that God will show Himself at the very end, when I myself felt like throwing in the towel. He will do something to help me complete the project at the eleventh hour. It was definitely not easy, especially when I see the deadline crawl closer and closer, but I tried my best.

True enough on 31st December, a few days before the end of the project, I received enough funds to cover the remaining balance. It was not a small sum, mind you, but a huge one from a backer who, too, prayed and asked God on how much to support me. Now that... that just shows how awesome God is.

But that is just one part of my faith journey. The biggest climb was how my concept of faith morphed in the 80 days. Faith was no longer believing that God will help me, faith was believing that whatever happens, God knows best. 

I told God my heart and how much I wanted the project to be a success, but I also told Him that if it is not His will, I will accept it. I'm willing to walk in His direction, even if it means a failed project. Declaring that was quite a challenge, cause I know God will take those words seriously. 

After having that mindset, my approach to God in regards to the project changed. My dad told me that he was willing to financially support my project if needed, but deep down, I did not want his help. I wanted to walk in God's direction and having my dad's support was sort of cheating. So, I began telling God that I no longer needed His help for the project, instead, I wanted it. 

There's a difference between need and want. Need is a necessity, want is a desire, and I desired for Him in the project. I wanted Him to be with me. I wanted. I didn't just need His help, I wanted Him. What will make me different from other writers? Having Him by my side, not just His helping hand. 

I guess, after making that request and seeing Him pull through, I know His reply. God said yes, and He is on board. He is willing to pick up a book I wrote not inspired by Him, a book someone bailed out on, and partner with me in seeing it through. Now, I have nothing to worry about. 

Everyday, I pray that He will continue to anchor the publication of the book and I find myself not stressing about it. If there's a delay or a complication, I know God is in control and He would only do what's best for the book. After all, He's my partner now, and I know He's one partner that will never leave me hanging.

If you have read this far, I hope my story inspires you to seek God more. Desiring Him versus needing Him makes a lot of difference. God wants us to want Him, and when we do that, we will experience more of Him in our lives.

I'm really thankful I got to experience such a faith journey in 2014. And I'm looking forward to a better and closer relationship with Him this year :)

Every adventure needs a soundtrack. Here's mine for the 3 months.

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